(WASHINGTON) — Officials speaking for President Obama’s campaign today challenged Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to provide clarity and specifics about his foreign policy positions when the former governor travels this week to Europe and the Middle East.
“The bar really is whether or not Mitt Romney is finally ready to shed a little light on what appears to be the secrecy of his foreign policy plans,” campaign adviser and former Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs declared on a conference call set up by the campaign.
Colin Kahl, a former Pentagon official in the Obama administration, said, “If Romney thinks it’s time to use military action against Iran and abandon diplomacy this early, I think he owes it to the American people to actually say so.”
Romney is scheduled to meet British officials in advance of attending the opening ceremonies Friday at the London Olympics, and then travel to Israel and Poland. His campaign officials have said the six-day journey is “to learn and to listen” rather than define specific policies. He is scheduled to deliver two speeches on policy while traveling.
“I don’t know how you give a major foreign policy speech and not give the policy details,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs reminded reporters on the campaign-sponsored conference call of the extensive foreign trip candidate Barack Obama took at this point in his first campaign for the White House, including stops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel and Western Europe.
Candidate Obama did not hold fundraising events during his trip four years ago, but Romney has fundraisers on his itinerary. When asked for a comparison, Gibbs suggested the Republican candidate’s trip “is almost entirely built around fundraising stops.”
A news release from the Romney campaign points out that hours after Sen. Obama’s address in Berlin, his campaign manager, David Plouffe, sent out a fundraising email asking supporters to watch a video of the speech and donate to the Democratic campaign.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, CNN
Ruth Brown and Lis Stewart, Idaho Press-Tribune
Eric Bradner, CNN